Central African Republic: Inaction is not an option. This failed state threatens to destabilise the entire region

A strong commitment from the international community is essential

Share

In the course of its young history, the Central African Republic has known many dark hours. Now the country is facing its worst crisis.

In this failed state, entire swathes of land are given over to violence by armed gangs. Looting, the recruitment of child soldiers, burnt villages, rapes, summary executions – civilians are paying a high price. One in 10 people have already had to flee their homes. Infant mortality, already very high, is on the rise. The impact of instability on farming portends a possible food crisis. The healthcare system is dilapidated, with only seven surgeons for five million inhabitants. The climate of fear is coupled with the imminent threat of a humanitarian disaster.

In this potentially rich and terribly poor land, where a certain harmony traditionally reigned between different groups and religious persuasions, inter-ethnic and sectarian tensions are on the rise. The hostility between Christians and Muslims has already led to several deaths. A spiral of hatred, pitting inhabitants against one another, is looming on the horizon; it must be avoided at all costs.

This tragic situation threatens to destabilise the entire region. The Central African Republic does not bear this name by chance: it lies at the crossroads of the Great Lakes Region, the two Sudans, Cameroon, Chad and the Congo.

The entire continent stands to lose if it becomes a haven for armed criminal gangs or terrorist groups. Experience has taught us how dangerous it is to allow the development of “grey areas” sheltering traffickers and terrorist groups from other countries. The gravity of this situation, as President Hollande emphasised in his speech to the UN in September, is leading that body to speak of the threat of genocide.

The countries of central Africa and the African Union are mobilised. Neither indifference nor inaction are options.

What should be done?

First, obtain a commitment from the citizens of the country themselves. Local authorities are responsible for ensuring law and order and protecting civilians. They must fulfil their commitments: carry out the political transition and hold elections by early 2015, as provided in international agreements.

A strong commitment from the international community is essential. This involves immediate humanitarian support. The EU and the UN are working to that end. France alone is devoting millions of euros to relief efforts in the areas of food and health. These efforts should support the work of the NGOs notably the NGOs of the CAR, which are courageously working to help the people who are suffering the most. 

But improving the humanitarian situation is obviously inseparable from the urgent need to restore security. All players – political as well as humanitarian – share this view. Africa is at the forefront and has started to intervene. First, the neighbouring countries and the entire region: in July, the African Union decided to deploy an African force  which France supports. The international community must support the build-up of this force, in all areas, including by financing it.

France, together with the African Union, has made international mobilisation in support of the CAR a priority. It’s about preventing a tragic situation and supporting the people of the CAR and their African partners in their efforts to help the CAR, while avoiding the mistakes of the past. We don’t want to pay for and suffer the price of doing nothing, which will be much higher tomorrow.

France will deliver. It will take action, in accordance with the law and together with its partners, notably its European partners, so that, a year after the start of the rebellion, the CAR can regain hope.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Data Specialist

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...

Recruitment Genius: Search Marketing Specialist - PPC / SEO

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Rafael Nadal is down and out, beaten by Dustin Brown at Wimbledon – but an era is not thereby ended  

Sad as it is, Rafael Nadal's decline does not mark the end of tennis's golden era

Tom Peck
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test